SSDs pollute TWICE as hard drives

The advantages of SSD hard drives over HDD drives are more than known and obvious. A group of researchers from the University of Wisconsin in the United States and the University of British Columbia in Canada have discovered that SSDs double the carbon dioxide emission of HDDs.

There are several advantages of SSDs over HDDs, not only in terms of read and write speeds. With no moving parts, the probability of damage from accidental shocks and vibrations is reduced. But also, SSDs consume less than HDDs, but then why do they generate more CO2 emissions?

SSDs pollute TWICE as hard drives

SSD are bad for the environment

As we mentioned, the consumption of an SSD is much lower than the consumption of an HDD hard drive . Consequently, one tends to think that they are better for the environment. At least, that’s what we all thought until we came across a study that really opens our eyes.

Researchers at the Universities of Wisconsin and British Columbia have studied emissions from SSDs and HDDs . Specifically, they have analyzed the emissions of an SSD and a 1 TB capacity HDD. This makes the comparison as realistic as possible.

Teamgroup CARDEA Z44Q SSD M.2 PCIe 24

The first interesting fact that the study gives us is the energy consumption of these units. The HDD units have a consumption in 5 years of 183.9 kWh and in 10 years they have a consumption of 367.9 kWh. On the other hand, the SSDs have a consumption in 5 years of 56.9 kWh and at 10 years the consumption is 113.8 kWh.

Regarding CO2 emissions, the HDD would emit 79.6 Kg in 5 years and 159 Kg in 10 years. While the SSDs would emit 24.6 Kg in 5 years and 49.2 Kg in 10 years.

You must think that the data contradicts everything we have told you, but you have not taken production into account. And it is that, indeed, producing an SSD pollutes much more than producing an HDD.

Making them is the differentiating factor

According to the researchers, a HDD emits a total of 40 Kg of CO2 in 10 years in terms of manufacturing. SSDs , for their part, emit a total of 320 kg of CO2 over 10 years . We can see that the production of SSDs is no less than eight times more polluting than HDD hard drives.

This brutal difference makes SSDs, globally, pollute almost twice as much as HDDs. According to the final result, a HDD emits a total of 99.6 Kg of CO2 in 5 years and an SSD emits 184 Kg of CO2 . Regarding emissions in 5 years, HDDs emit 199 Kg of CO2 and SSDs emit 369.2 Kg of CO2.

The researchers indicate that, to alleviate the problem , it is optimal to use the SSD as long as possible. They also indicate that MLC and SLC memory are the best, as they offer greater reliability and lifespan than TLC and QLC drives.

Now it is up to memory chip manufacturers to improve the efficiency of memory production. This is not something simple, since manufacturing a memory chip is much more expensive than the mechanical parts of an HDD.